Sunday, November 30, 2008

Higher than I've ever been before

The Byrds - Chestnut Mare (buy album)

Always alone, never with a herd
Prettiest mare I’ve ever seen, you’ll have to take my word
I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand

Well I was up on stony ridge after this chestnut mare
Been chasin’ her for weeks
Oh, I’d catch a glimpse of her every once in a while
Takin’ her meal, or bathing; a fine lady

This one day I happened to be real close to her
And I saw her standin’ over there
So I snuck up to her nice and easy
Got my rope out, and I flung it in the air

I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m going to catch that horse if I can

Well I got her, and I’m pullin’ on her, and she’s pullin’ back,
Like this mule goin’ up a ladder
And I take a choice and I jump up on her
Damned if I don’t land right on top of her

And she takes off, runnin’ up on to the ridge
Higher than I’ve ever been before
She’s runnin’ along just fine, till she stops and something spooked her
It’s a sidewinder, all coiled and ready to strike
She doesn’t know what to do for a second
But then she jumps off the edge, me holding on

Above the hills, higher than eagles were gliding
Suspended in the sky,
Over the moon, straight for the sun we were riding
My eyes were filled with light
Behind us black walls, below us a bottomless canyon
Floating with no sound
Gulls far below, seemed to be suddenly rising
Exploding all around...

I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m going to catch that horse if I can

And we were falling down this crevice, about a mile down I’d say
I look down and I see this red thing below us, comin' up real fast
And It’s our reflection in this little pool of water
About six feet wide and one foot deep

And we’re fallin' down right through it
And we hit and we splashed it dry
That’s when I lost my hold and she got away
But I’m gonna’ try to get her again some day

I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m going to catch that horse
I’m going to catch that horse
I’m going to catch that horse if I can
I’m going to catch that horse if I can

***

So, what do you think?

11 comments:

kreutzman said...

Pretty awesome....

Vaughn said...

The first time I heard that tune I was mesmerized. A great story-song that puts you right on the back of that horse. You actually get a sense of falling from it, it is that well told.
It was THE song that got me into investigating The Byrds to begin with; opening up a wonderful catalog of music.

godoggo said...

Well, I just youtubed it. Quicker that way. Somebody in comments said he thought it was about heroin, which I guess makes sense, and I was just thinking, horse, get it? I used to have a friend who had this album, so, aside from a Greatest Hits album somebody once lent me, it's the only one I ever listened to much. I remember this song and a bunch of boring hippy jams. I'm not a huge Byrds fan, I do love 8 Miles High and When You're Gone, but that's about it. Anyway listening to this song now I'm thinking, corny yet affecting, which is my response to quite a bit on this blog. But you know what I really miss? Dope humor. Friendly Neighborhood Narco Agent? I Owe a Lot to Iowa Pot? Dave? That was the stuff.

godoggo said...

...oh, yeah, forgot, I can't help thinking of "It's my wife and it's my life."

Vaughn said...

The song is about a wild horse and a man trying to capture a ride on it. No stupid, drug subtext here; just pretty, straight forward songwriting.
Maybe you're getting it confused with the band America's idiotic "Horse With No Name" which could be about any number of things.
The Byrds were hardly a jam band (especially on their studio albums)so you won't find many "boring hippy jams" just some of the best music the 60's ever produced.
More than one musicologist have referred to The Byrds as the USA's answer to The Beatles and that certainly has its merits.

Paul said...

Well, there IS a 16-minute-long version of Eight Miles High on the same record...

godoggo said...

Other than that, I'll freely admit I have no idea what I'm talking about, although, yeah, the idea of a heroin song from them would be a bit weird I guess, even if the metaphor does hold up pretty well.

Vaughn said...

One long live version (I knew that was going to get mentioned) does not constitute a jam band. And besides, they were exploring their "Coltrane-ness" there. Help me out here Paul I'm trying to save The Byrds legacy from misunderstanding!
And godoggo, if every song that mentions something to do with a horse is masking a heroin reference then, "Camp Town Races" is one cheery junkie tune. Do da, do da!
Oh and by the way, "Eight Miles High" is actually about flying in a plane over London and NOT about getting stoned.

godoggo said...

OK, fine, I was just idly musing on a record I haven't actually listened to in 20 years, and I realized there are lots of people who love the Byrds more than me.I also happen to have pretty reactionary tastes in country and conversely probably listen to a lot more avant jazz and fusion than I imagine most of the people here, but, of course you can't expect everyone to have good taste...

But all this has got me googling. I haven't found much to back up the drug thing, but try these keywords: "chestnut mare" & "peer gynt"

godoggo said...

BTW, regarding "of course you can't expect everyone to have good taste"...being deliberately ambiguous there. I thought it was funny! Probably wrong about that, though. Bad habit of mine, I'm afraid. Like expressing myself in sentence fragments.

Paul said...

My take: It's about a real horse and he was really high when he wrote it.